Letting Fear Be Your Motivator
When I think of fear, I think back to a time when I was a young man getting on the plane, leaving Guyana and setting off into the unknown—the vastness of the United States and its financial epicenter, New York City. I remember sitting on the plane wondering how was I going to make it?
Photo: Renwick Brutus
How was I going to be accepted in a place where I was totally new? I was after all, just a young man from a nondescript, developing, third world country who'd graduated from a college that certainly wasn't on the radar of those seeking the best educated candidates. I recall thinking that people could reasonably categorize me as being a foreigner, not belonging, and not as entitled as they were to the opportunities that existed. And many did.
I remember thinking that while this would be incredibly challenging and difficult, I would find a way.
And I also recognized that I could choose to either accept the deck of cards stacked against me or muster whatever capacity I possessed to rise above the preconceived determinations. Still, I was gripped with the fear and anxiety that I may not qualify, or measure up, or have doors opened for me—or at least the doors that would allow me to get to where I wanted to be, which was at the top of the hill I'd decided to climb.
So, I remember sitting on the plane and resolving that I was a citizen of the Universe. I had no input into where I was born, but no one else did either. No one could choose what they were born into—their country, family, gender or ethnicity. Yet, these factors all play a pivotal and significant role in our destiny. I determined that I was entitled to possess all that the Universe had to offer, just as much as anyone else.
And I would claim it. I would find ways to circumvent any barrier that would be placed before me.
It was out of the fear and the anxiety associated with leaving the country of my birth and coming to the United States, anticipating barriers that could, and would be placed in my path, that I discovered the value of trusting that I would accomplish what I set forth on. It was that fear and anxiety that caused me to reach into the deepest recesses of my faith and intellect. In order to discover the powerful argument for why I would be allowed to accomplish anything on my path.
Today, as I think about fear and anxiety, I think about the benefits that can arise from these emotions. This reflection is a prime example of how fear and anxiety have equipped many others and me with humility, tenacity, drive, ambition, patience and the deep seated belief that we would accomplish much and live respectable lives. They've always prompted the need to settle down, find calm and put everything in perspective. Solace has typically been found by way of stepping outside, going for a walk or bike ride, or doing something that took our minds away for a while.
Over the course of my life, I've used these practices and bundled them with doses of faith to harness my fears and anxieties, and overcome many of the obstacles that have come my way.
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